US orders farms to report pig virus infections

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, believed to be from China, causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, who die from dehydration.

It has killed pigs in 27 states since showing up in the U.S. last May. The disease has been blamed for recent increases in bacon and pork prices. Farmers have struggled to control the virus, because little is known about how it spreads and there is not yet a federally approved vaccine.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday it is increasing efforts by requiring farmers to report infections and labs where farmers send tissue and to report positive tests.

Farms that suffer an outbreak also will have to participate in a program to help control the spread of the disease

Previously, the USDA and the nation's pork industry tracked the disease with voluntary reports from the labs.

The USDA said it would commit $5 million to fight the disease, boosting the $1.7 million research effort already begun by the pork industry. It also will require farmers to report cases of a similar disease, swine delta coronavirus.

PED poses the most risk to newborn piglets, who die from dehydration. It does not infect humans or other animals.

Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, said the new reporting requirements would provide better information on how many farms have been infected by PED and where. They also set a model for how similar diseases could be handled.

Sundberg said one important aspect of the announcement was that the USDA did not appear likely to institute quarantines, which could cripple the pork industry by stopping the movement of animals to slaughter.

The USDA has already been looking at how diseases like PED could spread within the United States, and said it will work with state agriculture departments to track the and keep watch on the movement of animals, vehicles and other equipment from infected farms.

Some states now require a veterinarian to certify that pigs coming to farms or slaughterhouses are virus-free.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poland struck by first cases of African swine fever

Feb 18, 2014

Poland on Tuesday said it was taking action to stop the spread of African swine fever as it confirmed its first two cases and the European Union worked to end a Russian ban on its lucrative pork exports.

Commercial pigs in Ind. test positive for H1N1

Nov 04, 2009

(AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that pigs in a commercial herd in Indiana have tested positive for swine flu, making it the first time the virus has been found in such hogs.

Taking aim at deadly swine diseases

Dec 18, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are stepping up their efforts to help fight deadly swine viruses that are prevalent in other countries and pose a threat to the United States.

USDA confirms H1N1 in Minnesota pigs

Oct 19, 2009

(AP) -- At least one pig from Minnesota has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday, the first case of a pig contracting the virus in the United States.

Recommended for you

US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

9 hours ago

The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, U.S. public health officials are girding for the next health disaster.

Can robots help stop the Ebola outbreak?

18 hours ago

The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola—a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light.

New bird flu case in Germany

18 hours ago

A worrying new strain of bird flu has been observed for the first time in a wild bird in northern Germany, the agriculture ministry said Saturday.

Mali announces new Ebola case

Nov 22, 2014

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO

Nov 22, 2014

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.